Dascha Polanco On Being Afro-Latina

Orange is the New Black star, Dascha Polanco joins The Breakfast Club for a radio interview, and ends up teaching the host, and listeners, a thing or two about being an Afro-Latina.

The actress discusses her career, OITNB character (Daya), early life, family, and Hollywood’s gender and race issues in a candid interview with the three hosts.

Everything was going smoothly, until the current Hollywood hot topic of casting Zoe Saldana in the new Nina Simone biopic came up. Many critics feel that Saldana, who is of Dominican-Puerto Rican decent, does not resemble the soul singer, and the fact that her skin was darkened for the film is further proof of bad casting, and arguably inappropriate. Polanco believes that the movie did not need the extra “prosthetics” or skin color modifications, and if that is necessary another actress, for instance her co-star Uzo Aduba (who looks more like Simone), would have been a better choice.

This led to Polanco expressing her own identification, as an Afro-Latina, a term that confused the hosts. The Dominican Republic-born actress debunks the difference between race and ethnicity:

“I consider myself an Afro-Latina. We’re very black…”

“Because I’m from the Dominican Republic but I am a bl[ack woman]… we’re talking about where you’re from, your country, and you’re talking about race/ethnicity, right?” she said. “So I am Afro-Latina.”

Alexandra Sharova

Editor-in-Chief

Moscow born, Santa Barbara (CA) raised dreamer with an insatiable appetite for adventure & sweets.

  • InfiniteLight

    people of the united states of america,

    listen to “MOVING ON” BY COCOA TEA

  • tracy

    I have visited the Dominican Republis its a black heavily African influenced island. The African slaves were dropped off there before they came to the United States. Also people forget that the Dominican Republic is attached to Haitt. Haiti was the first island that stopped African slavery and revolted against the masters. People say they may have used witchcraft, etc. African Americans are not taught about the transatlantic slave history. African slaves were transported in the millions all over the Carribean and South America, Brazil. But even before slavery Africans traveled to these places

  • Fesah Rollins

    so they not going to tell her her track showing?

  • Vanquish

    She’s not black — she looks more like a mestiza in this picture than anything. She looks tri-racial in other pictures. Most Dominicans (73%) are of mulatto/mixed ancestry.

    • Dark Arts

      and the main ingredient in all of that mixing is african where you think those thick lips and hips come from europe lol. I find her proudly admitting she is black refreshing especially coming from a latin country where they are taught to ignore their african ancestry as much as possible

      • John

        “and the main ingredient in all of that mixing is african where you think those thick lips and hips come from europe lol. I find her proudly admitting she is black refreshing especially coming from a latin country where they are taught to ignore their african ancestry as much as possible.“

        I don’t think you and I (a conservative WM) would agree on much, but you make a brilliant point. I think Dascha Polanco is beautiful. I have no problem acknowledging her African features and curves.

      • Vanquish

        I didn’t say she didn’t have African ancestry. She’s not just ‘black’ (though) she looks very admixed.

        • Dark Arts

          black people come in all shades, like i said in latin culture alot of people do that i am mix claim not to give credit to the varied races in their lineage but to separate themselves from being mistaken for black. its refreshing she doesn’t play that game and boldly says that she is black especially coming from DR

        • LornaD

          Many African Americans’ genome is 50% African ancestry and 50% European. You cannot always judge by how someone looks. Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. (host of “Finding Your Roots”) discovered that genetically, he is biracial, although he identifies, along with his entire family, as black. Because of the “one-drop rule,” many mixed people were identified as African American.

    • YouMustLearn

      you need to vanish, so you are the authority on race.. I think not.. Afro Latino, Afro American and African.. these are our groups.. you can never define us.

      • Liah

        Indeed!…I don’t understand why people try to define us; pick up a true cause like …racism…Poverty ….Homelessness…So much more people can be doing with there time…Besides “talking”

    • ChicanoSpeaksUp!

      Black is singer Seal and baller David Ortiz. That’s when you go by skin color alone. There were more African slaves taken to South America than any other place on earth.

    • LornaD

      Most African Americans are what Dominicans and Brazilians would call mestizo; however, the difference is that blacks in the United States continued to marry other black people. Therefore, most of them look more black than European.

  • YouMustLearn

    I don’t see this as a big deal.. There are millions of Black Hispanics… More than Black Americans..

  • Invitado

    There is no such thing as an “Afro Latina”. Latin people are white and descendant from Europeans and they have a European culture and heritage. Blacks who speak Spanish because their ancestors were enslaved by Latins are not the same.

    • FDot

      Yes there is you make no type of sense seriously

    • ChicanoSpeaksUp!

      All Latin societies are stratified along color lines. Everything is based on skin color, hair texture and facial features. That’s why Latin people refer Latin people to look LATIN. Basically, have a Spanish/white look. Hispanic blacks are at the bottom of every Spanish speaking society by tradition.

      • JA6180

        The “bottom” huh? Nice way to put it…

      • Mmmm kay

        Not in every country. In nations with strong African influences (Brazil, Dominican Republic, etc), yes but in nations with/out those strong African influences (Chile, Bolivia, etc.) Indigenous groups are at the bottom of society

    • SUN

      Of course there is,. If she is Black and Hispanic she is AFRO LATINA

      • JA6180

        They’re in total denial. Pathetic…

      • Iesha Sue Washington

        She’s not half Black and half Hispanic, she’s just Hispanic.

        • SUN

          Well you are wrong too because she considers herself as Black.

    • JA6180

      “Afro-Latin Americans” is an actual term. Google is your friend…

    • mya

      I agree, historically they were African slaves. But they still proudly exclaim “Latin” and love the Latina term possessing black African skin and heritage. . I dont get why they are soooo proud to be part of people who seem to despise them and dont include them in high society. Seems so odd like an internal brainwashing of sorts. They need a wake up call. But what about the Black African Moors who historically traveled to Europe and enslaved the Spaniards conquering Spain for over 800 years before the Spanish took their slavery territories of the Carribean and South America????

    • guest

      So if one parent is black and one is latin what is the child? Are they not a mixture of both cultures? What happens when this mixing goes on for generations?

  • Liah

    I am “Afro-Latina” and very very proud of my heritage; I cannot deny my African heritage(mom) or Latina (dad) heritage.
    Never let society dictate who yu are; I love both of my parents and I am very proud of who I am.

  • handsomerandyblackladdiebrad

    Again,another example of people with sub-84 IQs talking race while the overlords divide,conquer AND FREAKIN’ STEAL FROM THE 99.999999% OF THE REST OF THE WORLD!!!!!!

  • handsomerandyblackladdiebrad

    African Americans (and African Canadians,of whom I am one),are taught ONLY RAP AND BASKETBALL BY RACIST SCHOOLS AND THIEVING,SCUMBAG “MIS-LEADERS!!!!!!!!!!”

    • LornaD

      If you are one, you are self-hating with a very limited view of the world. You should spend some time around black, well-educated people, and your perspective will be broader.

  • CaribbeanHouse

    TODAY IS MARCH 22, EMANCIPATION DAY! THIS IS THE DAY WHEN PUERTO RICAN BLACKS WERE FREED FROM SLAVERY BY THEIR SPANISH M@STERS WHO WERE VERY CRUEL TO THEM. MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT PUERTO RICAN BLACKS WERE ENSLAVED LONGER THAN ANY OTHER GROUP IN THE WESTERN WORLD. NOT ONLY THAT, THE SPANIARDS WERE SO DIABOLICAL TO THEM THEY WOULD BRAND PUERTO RICAN BLACKS ON THE FOREHEADS WITH HOT POKERS EXACTLY THE SAME WAY THEY BRANDED THEIR CATTLE AND HORSES. BUT MARCH 22, IS A DAY FOR MUCH CELEBRATIONS, FEASTING AND DANCING IN PUERTO RICO.

  • John

    Moderator: I have comments still pending. Thanks.

  • Gingertee

    Halle Berry was darkened for Queen. Nina Simone’s daughter has no ill will with Zoe, she said it and the rest of the world needs stop this argument. Diana Ross looked nothing like Billie Holiday yet she was mindblowing in Lady SIngs the Blues.

  • Tiffany Roberts

    People are so restarted most Spanish people are descendants of Africans so are white people. Everyone damn near in this world come from Africa. Africa is the first civilization. Africans were enslaved all over this world. Africa is a continent, not a country. There are tons of countries inside of Africa just like many states make up the US. Most Spanish/Latino people including Mexicans deny their African roots because they ashamed. U guys need to read more. She didn’t say she was mixed. She is saying she has African roots. African ancestors. If she was to do Ancestry DNA, she would have some percentage of African genes.